Timeline of Texas Hemp
Last December’s approbation of the Farm Bill legalized the cultivation and sale of industrial hemp for commercial and other purposes. In contrast to the 2014 Farm Bill, 2018’s listed hemp an agricultural commodity and removed its classification as a schedule I drug. Now, with established guidelines and steps to implement federally approved hemp plans, the onus to act was on the states.
Indifferent and unphased by federal hemp laws, 17 states had already permitted the commercial sale of industrial hemp before the December ruling. For the denizen states, the Bill essentially presented a set of criteria their existing plans needed to adhere to. For the others, it presented new pathways to benefit local economies and bolster farming communities across the state.
To everyone’s surprise, even some of the more traditionally conservative states seem to be moving swiftly to pass hemp legislation of their own. This May, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1325. And on June 10, less than a month later, Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 1325 into law, making legal hemp farming and the sale of hemp products in the state of Texas. Four days later Abbott also signed-off on a separate piece of legislation, House Bill 3703, which legalized the use of CBD for broader medical purposes. (Click here to learn the differences of CBD vs. THC).
With impending rules for state hemp programs expected to be released by the USDA this Fall, Texas lawmakers continue to formalize the state’s plan around license requirements, retailer registration, and general research budgeting. Once defined, the plan must then
receive approval from the USDA before the state may issue licenses. If all goes accordingly, licensed hemp farmers will be able to break ground and sow their seeds in Texas by 2020.
Of all the states, few stand to gain as much as Texas in the hemp rush. As the nation’s second largest economy, Texas is the epicenter of agriculture and leads the U.S. in production of cotton fiber and seed, wool, mohair, horses, hay, beef – the list goes on. A study by an attorney from the American Hemp Campaign reported to the Houston Chronicle that the “per-acre value of hemp production is around $21,000 from seeds and $12,500 from stalks. As of May 1, the gross per-acre value for cotton and cotton seed was $637.”
An estimated $20 billion market over the next 5 years, greener pastures seem to be on the horizon for the state of Texas and its’ rural farming communities.
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